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Agile2007 in Review

by Geoffrey Wiseman on Aug 22, 2007 |

Now that Agile2007 is over many people have looked back over the conference and shared their experiences.

Computer Business Review pointed out that Agile methods have come full circle, where software development took some of its inspiration for agile methods from manufacturing, and now manufacturing companies are adopting methods from software development, and draws parallels between manufacturing and software development:

Like IT, for many years, manufacturing was a protected industry and profession until offshore competition applied practices developed in the western world to produce faster, better, cheaper.

Fast forward 20 years, change the sector to IT, and the offshore colossus to India, and the parallels are incredibly similar.

Tony Bauer's roundup (via ComputerWire) talked about scaling Agile to the Enterprise:

Although there was no official theme to this year's Agile development conference, clearly much of the message concerned how to scale agile to the point where it could be taken seriously by the enterprise.

Whereas the typical team might have topped out at 15 members a year ago, Barton [CTO for SolutionsIQ] is increasingly seeing agile project teams numbering as many as 25 members.

Ultimately, though, Bauer argued that Agile methods aren't quite ready for full-scale enterprise adoption:

Yet the proposals and ideas delivered at Agile 2007 demonstrate that while agile is starting to scale, it still has along way to go before the methodology becomes robust enough for enterprise deployment.

The Sherpa Project reviewed some favorite sessions, and walked through some realizations and concerns in Agile 2007 - Parting Thoughts:

  • Lean thinking has started to move to the center of the agile universe.
  • Everyone wants to scale agile.
  • Everyone wants to distribute agile.
  • Lean has moved to buzzword status. A lot of people are talking about Lean but I don't think the majority understand the essence behind it. I think this will get better.
  • Everyone wants to make "Enterprisey" software with agile teams.
  • There are a lot of "agile" consulting firms that are full of ...

I think the fact that everyone is focused on "scaling" agility to large teams and distributed projects and that there will be a lot of agile disasters over the next couple of years. Now that the bigger software companies are moving to agile, the teams are getting too big and they are adopting agile in scary ways (too big, too fast). I think that you need to evolve to big teams, not start out there. I would also (passionately) argue that you should focus on how to have smaller software instead of how to scale agile teams to accommodate large software. I seem to be in the minority.

Were you at Agile 2007? How was the experience for you?

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The interface with Product Management by Deborah Hartmann

Certainly another theme I saw was: how should Product Management work to keep up with the Agile teams? It's not uncommon for the newly Agile team to quickly outstrip their customers' ability to provide reasonably firm requirements.

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